Please read through the job description and then fill out the application form.
Duties & Responsibilities
Providing confidential crisis support (chat, text and emails) using agency procedures and policies, the Roberts’ Model of Crisis Intervention, and in consultation with the Contact Centre Coordinators
Providing information and referrals to Distress Centre programs and community organizations
Addressing risk factors including, but not limited to, suicide, child safety, self-harm, and domestic violence
Handling multiple contacts to ensure individuals are safe and that everyone is heard
Documenting and creating reports on all contacts
Volunteers are also required to answer contacts for our partnership line Canadian Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS*)
*CSPS is a nationally available, regionally delivered 24/7 suicide intervention service. The purpose is to decrease service gaps nationwide to anyone thinking about, or affected by, suicide. Distress Centre Calgary is one of the pilot sites on this Canada-wide initiative
There is an expected commitment of 48 shifts over 12 months with a minimum of 4 shifts per month. The shifts are 4 hours in length and range from 6am-10:30pm daily.
Volunteers set their own schedules based on their availability or they can correspond with the Volunteer Scheduling Coordinator. There will be occasions where, due to unforeseen circumstances, the volunteer may need to stay past the formal shift end time. Credit hours will be given in accordance with the time spent.
Qualifications & Requirements
Over 18 years of age and reside in the province of Alberta (Under 18? Volunteer with ConnecTeen instead!)
Exceptional command of communication and interpersonal skills including: active listening, empathy, and patience
Ability to be level-headed in a crisis
Works well with others
Demonstrates self-awareness in areas such as: coping, stress-management and emotions
Ability to receive developmental feedback
Non-judgmental, accepting of diverse values and beliefs, and open-minded to callers with a variety of concerns
Excellent computer skills
Willing and able to follow policies and procedures
Basic navigation of Windows or Mac OS
Office 365 (SharePoint, Outlook, Teams)
Have home computer set up that is able to juggle multiple tabs and programs at once
Adequate internet connection
Confidential working space
Working headset and microphone
The following would be an asset:
Wildix (or familiarity with another contact centre telephony system)
And any other tech requirements that we might have.
Note: A criminal record and child welfare check (if volunteer is over 18) are to be conducted on every new volunteer with their consent at no cost to themselves.
Orientation & Training
Our volunteers do not need prior knowledge or experience in crisis support. Distress Centre offers comprehensive training to all new volunteers in topics including, but not limited to: crisis intervention, addictions, youth issues, and domestic violence. Distress Centre’s initial training includes 35 classroom hours (including independent modules) and 12-20 hours of supervised coaching shifts, with opportunities for additional developmental monthly training.
Training takes place over a 3-week period with a combination of Microsoft Teams classroom sessions and self-paced online modules. Classroom training is followed by supervised shifts where trainees support service users remotely. Attendance is required for all of the training modules and coaching shifts before you will be able to be on the lines solo.
Note: Alternative arrangements for training dates are limited. Volunteers-in-training are expected to attend all sessions.
All shifts are conducted off-site
Online Services Crisis Line Volunteers must have:
access to a computer or laptop with an up-to-date operating system and virus protection. They also must be willing to download external applications (e.g., Microsoft Teams) onto this computer
access to a high speed and stable internet connection
a workspace that ensures the security and confidentiality of client information (e.g., a home office with a door). This workspace should also be well illuminated, with a clear path to an exit in case of fire, well-ventilated, heated, and contain an ergonomically designed desk/table and chair. A virtual inspection of your workspaces may be requested as needed
Supervision & Support
Volunteers are paired with mentors whose responsibilities include providing developmental feedback, debriefing, regular reviews, and support throughout the volunteer’s commitment
Feedback is also provided to the volunteer by the Contact Centre Coordinator at least once per shift
Distress Centre invests in the volunteers and provides the support, resources, and the opportunities needed to grow and create change in the community
Make tangible differences in others’ lives and feel community connectedness
Development of communication and social skills to integrate into your personal/professional life
Gain and/or enhance perspectives on self-awareness
Obtain training and support in effectively assessing and de-escalating crisis/high stress situations
Be a part of a supportive team and create lasting friendships
Receive a reference letter upon completion of your first volunteer commitment